AUDI’S colossal Q7 SUV took centre stage at Frankfurt when it made its international debut.
The seven-seater car, which will feature adaptive air suspension, goes on sale in the UK next spring with the choice of either a 4.2 V8 FSI petrol engine with 350bhp or a 3.0 TDI V6 with 233bhp. Set to battle BMW’s X5 and the Mercedes-Benz M-class in the premium SUV sector, the Q7 has up to 28 possible seating configurations.
On sale now priced at £49,980, the RS4 accelerates from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and runs on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.
THE award for most stunning car at the show is an easy choice – Aston’s new baby model.
The V8 Vantage has a 4.3-litre V8 engine producing 380bhp, enough for a top speed of 175mph. Priced at £80,000, the Vantage is charged with stealing sales away from Porsche’s evergreen 911.
PORSCHE wowed Frankfurt with its Boxster-derived Cayman S.
The new model, developed on the floor plan of the Boxster, is powered by a 291bhp 3.4-litre engine.
As well as performance, the mid-engined Cayman S has decent practicality for a car of its type, with more than 400 litres of luggage space fore and aft. Prices will start at nearly £44,000.
Porsche boss Dr Wendelin Wiedeking said that the firm had sold nearly 10,000 units in the UK in the last year, making it one of the most important sales territories in the world.
SAAB’S increasing fleet presence will be bolstered with a heavily re-worked 9-5, which will keep the ageing executive car going for another few years.
It features a reworked nose and tail and new interior treatments including brushed metallic finishes and revised suspension.
The firm has also introduced two new engines, which it believes will form the core of its fleet offering in the executive market: a 150bhp 1.9 TiD diesel and 260bhp 2.3 turbo for the Aero version.
THE all-new S-class made its world debut at Frankfurt, packing a host of safety features under its new body.
But vying for attention with the technology-laden executive saloon were two new models from Mercedes-Benz’s power-crazed AMG subsidiary.
The ML63 AMG packs more than 500bhp from its naturally-aspirated 6.3-litre V8. Also sharing the engine is the Vision R, a concept which shows what the AMG version of the new R-class will look like when it goes into production.
VOLKSWAGEN’S Eos convertible features a folding roof called CSC (Coupe, Sliding, Convertible) which can be used either as a sunroof or as a full convertible.
Being in five pieces, the roof folds into a much smaller space than some competitors, allowing a shorter windscreen and less bulky rear end.
The Eos will come with four petrol engines – a 1.6-litre FSI 115bhp, 2.0-litre FSI 150bhp, 2.0-litre FSI turbo 200bhp and a 3.2-litre 250bhp unit.
Although some interior switchgear of the Eos is taken from other models, its cabin architecture is unique. Prices are expected to start at about £20,000 when it goes on sale in May.
Fleets will find an interesting petrol alternative to high powered diesels with the new Golf GT 1.4 FSI Twincharger.
Using twin turbochargers to produce high torque like a diesel engine, Volkswagen claims the 170bhp engine will deliver combined fuel economy around 40mpg, with a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds for the 170bhp unit.
The Golf GT will go on sale early next year in petrol and 170bhp diesel form, and sits just below the GTI in the range.
BMW called the roofed version of the Z4 an ‘obvious decision’, and although this is tentatively tagged a concept, BMW boss Dr Helmut Panke confirmed that it will go into production, albeit with a less radical interior.
Powered by a new lightweight 265bhp 3.0-litre straight six, adding a roof to the Z4 should improve body stiffness and therefore increase the handling capability of the car. Due to go on sale late next year, BMW claims a top speed limited to 155mph and 0-62mph acceleration in under six seconds.
Also on show was the new 3-series Touring range.
VOLVO is replacing two cars with one in the shape of the new C70 (pictured).
Previously available in coupe and convertible versions, the new C70 is both thanks to a folding metal hard roof which retracts in less than 30 seconds.
Due on sale in January, the C70 will be offered with two engines – a 170bhp 2.4i and a 220bhp turbocharged T5. A five-cylinder, 180bhp D5 diesel version will follow later next year.
Prices have yet to be announced, but Volvo says somewhere in the region of £26,000 is the likely starting point, with top-spec Sport versions costing around £30,000.
LEXUS’S all-new premium upper-medium challenger made its debut at Frankfurt, featuring the marque’s first-ever diesel model.
On sale later this year, the IS will be offered as either the IS250 – powered by a 2.5-litre V6 engine producing 208bhp, or the IS220d, featuring a 2.2-litre 177bhp diesel.
In 220d guise, Lexus claims it will return average fuel economy of 44.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 167g/km.
The IS is the second Lexus, after the GS, to be designed under the firm’s L-finesse design language, meaning sharper lines and a more aggressive front end.
HONDA’S new Civic range will be priced from £12,685 when it goes on sale in the UK in January.
The five-door hatch will also be cheap to insure, with a grouping of just 4E for the entry-level 1.4 model. The top-spec 2.2 diesel Sport will cost £18,100.
The entry-level Civic 1.4 S will have anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, front, side and curtain airbags, electric windows and 16-inch wheels as standard. Costing £13,750, the SE version will feature active head restraints, brake assist, automatic air conditioning, alloy wheels, CD player and a cooled glovebox.
Also on show was the recently (and very subtly) facelifted Accord range.
THIS is the latest model from South Korean firm Ssangyong. The Kyron is an SUV powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine offering 141bhp. On sale in the UK early next year, the Kyron will be available with a choice of manual or five-speed automatic gearboxes. And in case you were wondering, the name comes from the Greek for ‘unlimited’ (kai) and the English word ‘run’.
SEAT Altea FR
SEAT previewed the look of its sporty Altea model with this concept at Frankfurt. The Altea FR, which goes on sale early next year, will be powered by a 170bhp version of the Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine which offers 0-62mph acceleration in 8.6 seconds and combined fuel economy of 46.3mpg. The FR model will be distinguished from lesser versions by its silver door mirrors, deeper bumpers and chromed twin exhausts. Thankfully, the garish decals on the show car won’t make it to production.
SUZUKI gave its new Grand Vitara SUV its public debut at Frankfurt. Priced from £12,699, the Suzuki features permanent four-wheel drive and is available in three and five-door body styles. Engine choice is either 105bhp 1.6-litre or 138bhp 2.0-litre petrols. They will be joined by the end of the year by a 127bhp Renault-sourced common rail turbodiesel.
SMART is to continue selling the Roadster in the UK, despite it going out of production. The DaimlerChrysler subsidiary is dropping the car from its range next month to stem losses, but the firm’s UK chief has successfully petitioned the firm to ensure that Britain, the car’s biggest market, remains on sale for another 12 months.
SKODA bosses have given themselves until the end of the year to reach a decision on turning their Yeti concept car into a production reality. A cross between a MINI and the Citroen Pluriel, the Yeti is a multi-purpose model with a variable roof system. Designed in collaboration with Karmann, it provides a choice of open-air driving with both soft and hard tops stowed away and the rear side windows lowered.
KIA unveiled its new Magentis flagship at Frankfurt. Taller, wider and longer than the model it replaces, prices start at £15,000 for the entry-level 2.0-litre 144bhp petrol model. The range-topping 2.7-litre 188bhp V6, which comes with an all-new five-speed automatic gearbox, is priced at £18,000. A diesel also joins the range for the first time – a 140bhp 2.0-litre unit will be launched in May 2006.
SUBARU will continue to move the Impreza upmarket as it launches a revised model next month. A new, more powerful 2.0-litre engine as well as a new 2.5-litre for turbo models will re-affirm the car’s sporty credentials while the interior will feature better quality materials. Prices will be announced in October but expect a rise over the current car’s starting point of £14,800.
DAIHATSU gave us a sneak preview its replacement for the Terios off-roader. The D-Compact 4x4 hints at the new model available in spring 2006. Daihatsu claims it will seat five people and uses a new 103bhp 1.5-litre engine with four-wheel drive.
ALFA Romeo is gearing up for a busy 2006 with two key model lines being replaced during the first six months of the year.
The 159 will replace the 156 early in the year with the promise of more space, better quality and improved dynamics, while the Brera will replace the long-serving GTV coupe a few months later.
High performance versions (a 200bhp five-cylinder diesel and a 260bhp 3.2-litre V6 petrol) will be all-wheel drive in a bid to eliminate the ‘torque-steer’ found in powerful front-wheel drive cars.
The Brera is developed from the same platform as the new 159 and UK deliveries should begin by the summer. The Brera will also offer the 200bhp diesel found in the 159 alongside four cylinder and six-cylinder petrol engines.
THE BLS will be the rank and file of Cadillac’s assault on the UK car market when it arrives in right-hand drive in spring 2006. With an entry price of around £20,000, the saloon will be taking on rivals such as the BMW 3-series and Jaguar X-type.
Nevertheless, initial UK volumes will be modest by comparison. European sales across the whole Cadillac range aren’t expected to reach 20,000 until 2010, with the UK and Germany expected to account for the bulk of business.
The inclusion of a 1.9-litre turbodiesel (150bhp) variant in the BLS is a first for the American marque, indicative of it adapting to European drivers’ tastes. Three petrol powertrains complete the range: a 2.0-litre turbo in two stages of tune (175bhp and 210bhp) plus a 2.8-litre V6 turbo (255bhp).
FRANKFURT witnessed a huge push from car manufacturers into alternative fuel technology – and hybrid power appears to be the road they are all following. Six manufacturers debuted hybrid models at the show...
AUDI’S big show surprise at Frankfurt was this hybrid version of its new Q7 high performance sport utility model.
Due to be launched in Europe and the US in 2008, the 4.2-litre V8 petrol and electric-powered seven-seater sprints to 62mph from rest in only 6.8 seconds but uses 15% less fuel than the standard model, which goes on sale next year.
Powertrain chief Wolfgang Hatz said: ‘We introduced a petrol/electric concept 16 years ago based on the Audi 100, so hybrid power is nothing new for us. But I think it will be some time yet before we can consider making the system available on other than low-volume production vehicles.’
Despite weighing 140kg more than the regular Q7, the hybrid delivers a combined total of 472 lb-ft of torque to the quattro drive system via a six-speed tiptronic transmission to provide superior performance. But the car is also able to drive on purely electric power for short distances in city traffic at up to 20mph.
BMW’s X3 Efficient Dynamics concept (pictured) illustrates its commitment to hybrid technology, a programme it announced would move forward in a collaboration with Daimler Chrysler and General Motors.This unusual step by the three competitors is intended to speed up their respective hybrid programmes in a bid to catch up with the Japanese, and in particular Toyota and Lexus, who are winning the PR battle as green carmakers.
Although hybrid sales are still small relative to the total global car market, BMW admits that it must raise its game and aims to have hybrid versions of its cars within the next three to four years.
Although sharing hybrid technology with competitors, BMW claims its greener engines will retain distinctive BMW sporty characteristics, while delivering 20% better fuel economy.
The X3 Efficient Dynamics will not go on sale until 2008.
PORSCHE announced it would put two radical new cars into production by the end of the decade, one a hybrid Cayenne. It is developing the 4.2-litre hybrid engine in conjunction with Volkswagen-Audi Group, which will also go into the Q7 and possible Touareg. Boss Wendelin Wiedeking scotched suggestions that the Cayenne would get a high power diesel engine in the meantime. He said that in key markets such as the USA, there was not sufficient demand, and that the investment in a diesel unit would be too costly for the numbers it would sell in.
MERCEDES-BENZ unveiled two hybrid concept versions of the S-class at Frankfurt, in both petrol and diesel form.
The Direct Hybrid S350 uses a compact high torque electric motor, with the petrol engine switching off whenever it is not needed, while in stop-and-go urban driving, could save up to 25% in fuel.
The diesel Bluetec Hybrid uses the firm’s acclaimed new 3.0-litre unit, an electric motor and an innovative exhaust gas purification system to limit nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 80%. In total, Mercedes-Benz engineers reckon a 20% fuel saving could be possible.
Both cars are ‘mild hybrids’, unlike the more advanced powertrain it is working on with BMW and General Motors. Daimler Chrysler board member Dr Thomas Weber said: ‘The objective is to make petrol cars as efficient as diesels and diesels as clean as petrol cars.’
HONDA has long been a pioneer of hybrid technology, and at Frankfurt it released details of its latest model. The new Civic IMA uses an electric motor to support the petrol engine, resulting in much reduced CO2 emissions of just 109g/km and combined economy of 61.4mpg. On sale in January, the Civic IMA will cost around £16,000.
HOT on the heels of the RX400h SUV comes Lexus’ latest hybrid, the GS450h (pictured). Based on the firm’s executive car, the new GS features a 3.5-litre direct injection petrol V6 engine allied to a Hybrid Synergy Drive electric motor. Lexus claims it provides V8 performance with the economy of a 2.0-litre compact saloon – and while official figures are not available, the firm does promise CO2 emissions of less than 195g/km. The GS450h goes on sale next year.
A string of potential new suppliers from China emerged at the show, with three firms revealing their models in public for the first time.
The JMC Landwind brand is already on sale in parts of Europe, including Belgium.
They are the first Chinese-built vehicles to go on sale in Europe and offer some of the cheapest entry-prices around, although wholelife costs are a different matter.
In Germany, its 2.0 SUV is being offered for a starting price of less than £11,000.
There are also 2.4-litre petrol and 2.8-litre diesel units available. A leather interior, alloy wheels, CD-radio, park distance control, electric windows and mirrors and automatic air conditioning are all fitted as standard.
A spokesman for JMC said: ‘While European manufacturers are paying their workers E50 an hour in their plants, that is what we pay in a month.
‘There are no plans for right-hand drive models to be built for about two years, but nothing has been ruled out.’
Also at the show was Geely International Corporation, which offers a range of models from small hatchbacks to upper-medium cars, a coupe (the CD pictured right) and the unfortunately titled Pu pick-up. Models are also offered under the Maple brand.
A new model was also on show from Euro Motors Brilliance Auto, called the Zhonghua, which was powered by a 2.0-litre engine.
CHRYSLER has confirmed it will launch an estate version of its new 300C executive car in the UK next spring as the saloon version reaches UK showrooms.
Deliveries of right-hand drive versions of the 300C are about to begin in the UK with prices for V6 models (petrol and diesel) starting at £25,750.
The estate, called Touring, will share its engine line-up with the saloon, comprising a 215bhp 3.0-litre V6 common rail turbodiesel, a 250bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and a 340bhp 5.7-litre V8.
Although Chrysler will make an official announcement on prices for the Touring model closer to its launch, the V6 models are likely to be priced at around £27,000, with the V8 at £35,000.
Spring 2006 will also witness the launch of a new seven-seat off-roader from Jeep.
Called the Jeep Commander, the new car will be based on the Grand Cherokee, but will offer seating for up to seven. The Commander will share its engine line-up with the Grand Cherokee, offering customers a choice of a V6 turbodiesel or one of two V8 petrol engines. Sitting next to the Commander on the stand was the Patriot, a concept of what the next generation Cherokee model will look like. Prices for the Commander are yet to be announced, but are expected to start at about £31,000.
BMW hinted that the next generation MINI will come with more bodystyles than the current two when it goes on sale in 2007 with its Concept Frankfurt model, which harked back to the wood-panelled Traveller versions which were built decades ago.
The stretched car, with split double doors and a retractable roof section for added load carrying ability, also had elongated headlights and a reprofiled bonnet, both of which are likely to end up on the 2007 model.
The Sportback debuts a new front-end with a deep, gaping grille, a wedge-like profile and high rear shoulders.
The design is intended to accommodate a wide variety of engines and transmissions, including four-wheel drive and the ‘world engine’ – a petrol unit developed with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai, and capable of producing in excess of 200bhp.